After Power Play host Don Martin referred to him as the “Rob Anders of the Senate” last week, Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau tweeted to Martin that he wanted to come on the show to dispute the fact. So Martin arranged it, and Brazeau was on the show tonight.
“He’s one of my colleagues, but I’m way to young to be sleeping, and if you spent any time in the Senate, you’d see that the ones who are sleeping are Liberal senators,” Brazeau said of the comparison to Anders, referencing of course that incident where Anders was caught napping in the Commons.
When Martin asked him about his absenteeism, Brazeau said that he is in the midst of some ongoing court cases surrounding personal issues that he didn’t want to get into, but he has been taking steps to clear his name.
“Obviously journalists will try to spin things as they do,” Brazeau said. “It’s not as if I wasn’t working – as a matter of fact, next week we’re going to be starting a study of off-reserve status Indians and looking at their rights in terms of them being off-reserve in a human rights lens. This is something that has never been done in the history of this country – having First Nations off-reserve and human rights in the same sentence, so this is something that I’ve proposed, and we’re going to be studying that.”
Martin brought up Brazeau’s comments about the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples – an organization he used to head – as being a “Mickey Mouse club,” to which Brazeau said they’ve been fairly silent in the past couple of years, but that this off-reserve study could give them a platform to educate Canadians in terms of off-reserve First Nations issues. He also pointed to governance issues in the organization.
Seeing as the focus in the Commons today was on Bob Rae’s motion to abolish the Indian Act, Brazeau said it’s something that should be done, but that it should be put to a national referendum by those the Act affects, both living on and off-reserves. That way, the grassroots Aboriginals will have a voice rather than just the chiefs.
Martin’s last question was about term limits – would Brazeau only serve nine years in the Senate, or stick around until 2049 like he’s currently entitled to? Brazeau didn’t really answer. He said he supports Senate reform and bringing accountability to the Chamber, but suggested first looking at scrapping the Indian Act.